Last Friday Nobu Matsuhisa was in Dallas to celebrate Nobu’s 5th anniversary. Jennifer Chininis was there and files this report:
I don’t know why, but Nobu is not one of the places I think to go for a night on the town. It’s expensive, yes, but I go to other expensive restaurants. And I recall having a fantastic time at the grand opening events—co-owner Robert De Niro was in attendance, so you know it was a big deal—and, a couple of years ago, I had a heck of a time drinking cocktails with my then-boyfriend in the bar. But Nobu has been off my radar—until now, when I attended the five-year anniversary party last Friday night and learned that happy hour extends until close on Wednesday and Thursday. That means $7 specialty cocktails (love that lychee martini), $4 beers, and $6 appetizers such as shishito peppers, Wagyu and foie gras pot stickers, and Nobu’s famous black cod in lettuce wraps.
Robert de Niro wasn’t at the anniversary party this time, but the man himself, Nobu Matsuhisa, was making the rounds, greeting guests and beaming like a proud papa. Also in the spotlight that night was affable executive chef Matt Raso, who, except for a brief stint at Sushi Samba, has been at Nobu since the beginning. When he wasn’t shaking hands, he was manning the grill in the courtyard.
Despite the heat—one of those still, humid nights in Dallas when everyone’s trying to ignore the perspiration glistening on upper lips—the crowd happily devoured an assortment of sushi, sashimi, and rolls. Among the top noshes were Nobu tacos filled with rock shrimp, red onion, and avocado; lettuce wraps stuffed with salmon and brown rice salsa; and Wagyu kushiyaki with Peruvian chile sauce and chicken yakitori with miso mustard. Lychee martinis went down way too easy—must have been the heat!—but the most memorable moment of the night came when we met assistant manager Yuka Hinoda, who was giddy with excitement over her recent engagement to executive chef Matt Raso. Standing by her side was chef Nobu, who admitted to playing matchmaker. Seems celebrity chef is only his day job.